Essay Marcus Aurelius and Stoic Philosophy

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Marcus Aurelius and Stoic Philosophy

Stoicism is a belief that the universe, despite its appearances, is completely rational and guided by fate. Within it, individuals can, by conforming themselves to divine reason, find their proper place, learn to accept whatever happens with a strong and tranquil mind, and fulfill their obligations to society. These beliefs are the heart of Stoicism, a philosophy that originated in Athens during the 3rd century BC. Stoicism can be divided into three periods: Old (300 - 129 BC.), middle (129 - 30 BC.), and New (30 BC. - AD 200). The foundations were laid by Zeno and were reshaped by his Greek and Roman followers (Comptons). Among the eminent Roman Stoics were Seneca, Epictetus, and the
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This view is similar to pantheism, which sees god in all aspects of nature. All specific bodies, whether animal, mineral, or vegetable, are composed of a godly matter. The human mind is also a fragment of god contained in the individual. By living in harmony with nature, the mind is able to direct a person into a life guided by correct reason. Everything that happens in the world is planned by fate. Just as everyone has a duty to live by reason, so everyone should learn to accept with courage and calm whatever circumstances the world brings. The notion of morality involves a life in accordance with nature and controlled by virtue. It is as ascetic system, which teaches perfect indifference to everything external. Nothing external can be either good or evil (Stanford). To Stoics, both pain and pleasure, poverty and wealth, and sickness and health, are supposed to be equally unimportant. Stoic Ethical teaching is based on two principles: first, that the universe is governed by absolute law, which admits of no exceptions; and second, that the essential nature of humans is reason. Virtue, is the life according to reason. Morality is simply rational action. It is the universal reason, which is to govern our lives. The definition of morality as the life according to reason was shared by Plato, Aristotle, and Stoics. The Stoics however, had a much narrower interpretation, which they gave this principle. Aristotle had taught that the essential
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